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You are the voice. We are the echo.
The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Monday, June 24, 2024
The Echo
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This may be the best advice you’ve been given

The power of three words

Watch and learn. 

Apart from God’s Word developing my biblical worldview, these three words have played a role in shaping how I see faith, family, relationships, work and entertainment. Ever since I can remember, my mom and dad have instilled these words of wisdom in the hearts and minds of my siblings and me. The application of this advice is a daily practice that I have found eventually turns into a life motto. 

It seems like an elementary idea, since as infants we saw older children walking and decided to learn by watching. However, I have found that as we grow older, this instinct weakens as our own desires take over.  

Strong biblical evidence is embedded in the concept of “watch and learn.” James speaks to the importance of being thoughtful in our words and actions. 

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20).

As a daughter, sister and friend, I view James and my parents’ advice in a similar light. Both celebrate awareness of our actions and how they affect those around us. Taking this to heart at a young age set me up to be observant and discerning in every area of life. If these two attributes are present in our churches, schools, offices and homes, then all other advice could be more readily heard. 

I am not presenting that “watch and learn” is the only piece of advice, but I believe it is wisdom that sets precedent for other counsel. Without the desire to learn from others, there is little incentive to acknowledge or value any shared advice — no matter how radical. 

Middle school introduced a coming of age where dating became a possible reality. Throughout those years and to this point in college, I have witnessed the fruit of watching and learning from those older than me engage in relationships that were both admirable and odious. 

Different advice resonates with different people. 

Freshman Massah Jenkins Kamara moved from West Africa a few weeks ago to continue her schooling at Taylor. Throughout her life, uncertainty has been a constant theme, but she has great wisdom. 

“If you don’t know where you are coming from, know where you are going,” she said.

She thinks about this advice when making decisions, evaluating her future goals in the transparency of a moment. Massah reflects how this helps her avoid comparison and represent her values.  

Freshman Ian Brookshire was encouraged to break his shell. 

“Branch out; don’t close yourself in,” his mom said.  

Coming to Taylor, he has seen the value in allowing these words to penetrate his life, resulting in a rich community. 

When asked about the best piece of advice she has been given, honors student Abbey Suess reiterated her favorite quote from missionary Elizabeth Elliot who said, “Do the next right thing.”

This reminds Suess to take each step at a time. Rather than always anticipating the following years, she is encouraged by this advice to go to the next class and do the next homework assignment, all for God’s glory. 

In her “Woah, That's Good” podcast, Christian author and speaker Sadie Robertson begins each episode by asking her guests this question. The diversity in answers is incredible, and I hope you can determine what advice you have been given, being careful to heed such guidance.  

Wisdom comes from God alone, but he has placed people in our lives who are being transformed by Truth for the very purpose of speaking into others’ lives. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

May we be a people who love wisdom and instruction in the form of godly advice. Watch and learn from those in different seasons of life, and I am confident in the space this will facilitate for advice to be shared. 

To this day, “Watch and learn” stands out as the most simple yet wise advice I have been given, and maybe it will be the same for you. 

What piece of advice has been shared with you? Please share with us! 

Contact: claire_nieshalla@taylor.edu or emma_stotz@taylor.edu